Precious cargo: Car seat safety tips

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Nikki Spencer
  • 78th Security Forces Squadron entry controller

As a 78th Security Forces Squadron installation entry controller, I greet many of you entering the gates daily. During my brief interactions I’ve noticed many children improperly buckled in seats or other child safety restraints.  

According to the National Highway Safety Administration, in 2014, 173 children lost their lives due to adults failing to have their children in proper safety restraints. It’s suggested that nearly 70 percent of all motorists fail to properly secure their child in child safety seats. Hopefully this article can provide car seat information to ensure the safety of your children.  

Some common issues along with solutions to ensure your child’s safety are listed below.


*Straps not tightened properly on the car seat


According to a study by the NHSA, the most common critical misuse of child safety seats is the straps being too loose, or seatbelt not properly strapping down the car seat. The straps need to be snug across the child, and not twisted in any way. The chest piece needs to be over the chest and parallel with the child’s armpits. The buckle needs to be locked securely in place between the child’s legs. Be careful when your child is wearing garments as it may decrease the effectiveness of the child seat and could cause serious injury if involved in a car accident.  


Driver or passenger holding a child on their lap, or otherwise not safely restraining a child in a moving vehicle


Georgia Code 40-8-76 requires all children under 8 years old be placed in a proper restraint system in accordance with their height and weight measurements. Further, it’s recommended by the Georgia Office of Highway Safety that any children under the age of 13 should be secured in the back seat of the vehicle to reduce the risk of serious injury during a car accident.  


Child facing forward too early or not in appropriate seat for age and weight


The appropriate age for a child to face forward in a car seat is in between the ages of 1 and 3, depending on the weight of the child. Also, child seats have recommended age, weight and height requirements for that particular seat.   


Child in an outdated car seat (Yes, they do expire!)


Every car seat has an expiration date. If you get into an accident with an expired car seat, it may not protect your child properly. Also, if you have had an accident, then you need to purchase a new car seat.  


Children putting the seatbelt behind their back

Children old enough to grab a seat belt and place it behind their back need to be watched and corrected.  

If you take the seatbelt off the chest, there is nothing to hold the chest back in the event of a crash.